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Grub Hoe vs Mattock: Comparison & Uses

Grub hoes and mattocks are similar tools often used for digging and shaping soil.

In this article, I’ll compare grub hoes vs mattocks and look at the jobs the tools are best suited for to help you choose the right one for working around your yard.

Let’s dive in.

What Is A Grub Hoe?

Also called an azada or grubbing mattock, a grub hoe has a perpendicular blade at the end of a long handle. A grub hoe is designed for digging trenches and tilling the soil. You can also use a grub hoe for cutting through and removing sod, and chopping weed stems and roots.

And because you can generate powerful swings with a grubbing hoe, you can cut through the stems of woody plants, as long as they’re not too thick.

Grub hoes are also useful for tasks often performed with a spade, including removing soil to plant trees or place paving and patio stones, turning compost, mixing cement, and scraping concrete.

What Is A Mattock?

Pick mattock lying on the ground

A mattock is often mistaken for a pickaxe. A mattock is similar to a grub hoe, but the head has two ends. One side of the head has a horizontal blade called an adze, used for digging and prying.

The other side of the head either has a pick (pick mattock) or an axe head (cutter mattock). The pick helps to break through hard and rocky soil. And the axe head is well-suited to cutting through roots before you pry them from the ground with the adze.

Because of the dual head, the mattock is two tools in one. The pick mattock is the more popular version of the tool.

My Recommended Mattock

Truper Cutter Mattock (Amazon)

This heavy-duty cutter mattock easily cuts through tree roots and shrubs and breaks up tough soil. The mattock has a 36-inch fiberglass handle with a rubber grip for extra comfort and improved handling. The 5 lb head is made from forged steel and can handle the toughest work, but requires some strength to wield.

Using Grub Hoes & Mattocks

You use grub hoes and mattocks with a swinging action. Similar to using a pickaxe or a sledgehammer, the secret to using a grub hoe or a mattock effectively is to let the tool do as much of the work as possible. Don’t take large heavy swings. Instead, use a smooth motion from waist height with relaxed arms and wrists.

Loosen your grip once you’ve swung the tool. The tool should mostly absorb the impact shock and not your arms. Repeated swings will quickly get the job done. You don’t need to try and remove a large volume of soil with each swing.

Grub Hoe vs Mattock

A grub hoe is a versatile tool that can perform a variety of gardening and agricultural tasks. Because a mattock has a similar blade, it can also carry out the same tasks as a grub hoe. But the second blade on a mattock gives it extra qualities.

Cutting through roots and woody plants is easier with a cutting mattock than a grub hoe. And using a pick mattock makes it easier to break hard ground containing stones and rocks.

Featured Image: Mattock by Adrian Scottow

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